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Water Purification

The Water Purification Process

Water purity is extremely important to pharmaceutical and biochemical industries.
Suspended or dissolved particles, organic compounds, impurities and other contaminants
prohibit the usage of tap water in laboratory applications and scientific research.
Parameters such as resistivity, conductivity, size of particulate matter and concentration
of microorganisms are used to categorize water quality and, therefore, specify intended
uses for water. Some applications can tolerate the presence of specific impurities in the
water, but others, such as High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) require
removal of the majority of contaminants.

Water purification systems are a relatively recent addition in the homes of many people.
The amount of publicity about levels of contaminants in household water systems has
increased, particularly in the last decade. Now, homeowners and renters alike are
choosing to ensure that the water they use to drink, cook and bathe in is free from

From the smallest pitcher to an entire household unit, purification systems are more
affordable than ever and a great way to ensure that families all over the world have access
to safe, clean water.

Description of Four Main Types of Water Treatment

Filtration: A process in which water passes through a water system that may include one
or more filters for the purpose of removing turbidity, taste, color, iron or odor. The design
can be loose media tank-type systems or cartridge devices. In general the process may
include mechanical, adsorptive, neutralizing and catalyst/oxidizing filters.

For additional information on filtration refer to our frequently asked questions about


The process of distillation essentially purifies water by heating it until only the water
molecules evaporate and condense in another part of the filter, leaving impurities behind
in the original water source. Interestingly, scientists consider distilled water an
unnaturally pure form of drinking water and as a result, substances are routinely added to
remineralize it. Minerals are considered a healthy part of drinking water.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis works by drawing water through a very fine membrane under high
pressure. While the process is comparatively slow, this type of purification system can
rid water of almost any contaminant, including radioactive particulates. Once again,
minerals are also removed and routinely re-added to improve the healthy nature of the

Other Water Purification Methods

There are several other methods employed to purify water.

Ultraviolet radiation purification is particularly useful in areas of the world where

microorganisms make the consumption of untreated water hazardous. Developing
countries commonly use this type of filter, in which water passes through a glass
element, is exposed to UV light, and as a result, any microorganism present is
Ceramic water filters, made from fossilised diatomaceous earth (D.E.), filter water
by squeezing out potentially harmful microscopic organisms and debris. Popular
with campers and explorers, the top layers of ceramic filters can be sloughed away
when they get clogged.
Catalytic conversion filters remove harmful elements by converting them into
harmless substances rather than removing them altogether. For this reason, there
are no filters to replace and they can be used in disaster-struck areas to quickly
deliver vital, clean water to those in need.


Water is an excellent solvent and can be sourced from almost anywhere on Earth. This
property makes it prone to all kinds of contamination.

Particulates: Silt and debris which can be removed by passing water through a 10
to 20 micron filter (or less if necessary).
Microorganisms: Bacterial agents constitute a real challenge for water purification
systems. Their growth rate, size and robustness require an efficient design
(detection, removal from water inlet, inhibition of growth, etc.). Bacteria are
measured in colony forming units per milliliter and can be killed with
disinfectants. As a result, their secretions and cellular fragments must also be
removed to avoid contamination.
Endotoxins, pyrogens, DNA and RNA: Cellular fragments and bacterial by-
products. Harmful to tissue cultures. Can be detected with a Limus Amoebocyte
Lysate (LAL) test.
Dissolved inorganic elements: Include phosphates, nitrates, calcium and
magnesium, carbon dioxide, silicates, iron, chloride, fluoride, and any other
natural or man-made chemicals resulting from exposure to the environment.
Electrical conductivity (Siemens/cm) is used to monitor high concentration of
ions, while resistivity (Mcm) is used to identify ions if present in small
concentrations. These contaminants affect water hardness and alkalinity/acidity.
Dissolved organic elements: Pesticides, plant and animal remains or fragments.
Total Organic Carbon (TOC) analyzers are used to measure CO2 emitted by
organics subjected to oxidization. Organic-free water is mainly used in
applications where analysis of organic substances is carried out (e.g. HPLC,
chromatography and mass spectrometry).
Scientific applications require elimination of certain types of contaminants. On the other
hand, pharmaceutical productions require, in most cases, near-total removal of impurities
(criteria dictated by specific standards or local/international regulatory bodies).

Reasons to Choose a Water Purification System

Often, a buyer will be reluctant to try a water purification system, thinking that the system
will be too complex and too time consuming to operate. The truth is that these systems
are usually designed to be very efficient and easy to use. Several reasons to choose a water
purification system are detailed below.

Bottled water is expensive and the empty plastic bottle is usually sent to a landfill
site. While some types can be recycled, the processes ultimately use many more
resources than simple filtration.
Filtration is a very cost efficient way of producing a lot of purified water in a
relatively short amount of time. For an average family, choosing a water filter
over bottled water will save a lot of money in the long run.
Filtration is more convenient than having to buy bottled water. Equipping each
family member with an attractive, reusable water bottle is a great way to help the
family budget and the environment.
If an individual lives in an area in which unsatisfactory levels of pollutants are
present in tap water, a purification system will ensure a much better quality of
water for household use.

Smaller water purification systems themselves are not always very expensive to buy. In
fact, a system will often pay for itself within two weeks, and replacement filters on a tap
or a refrigerator unit usually cost less than the price of a bottled water multipack. Larger
systems may require a bigger initial outlay, but the benefits provided by a whole-house
purification system outweigh the initial cost significantly.

How Do Water Purification Systems Work?

There are quite a few different types of water purification systems and the way they
function will depend upon what they have been designed to tackle. Industrial waste water
processing facilities, for example, have several filtration stages including debris removal
screens, and microbial elements. However, a purification system purchased on eBay, for
example, will likely be a little simpler and easier to set up.
The type of filter likely to be useful to a family will be the one which can tackle the
contaminants found in their tap water. From lead and other heavy metals to sediment, the
water in one area will vary dramatically from the water in another. The method of
filtration used will depend upon the elements that require removal. Quite often, home
water filters have a number of different types of filtration built into a unit to tackle a range
of water problems commonly found in homes.

Three-Step Water Purification Components

Often, there is more than one step in water purification, particularly in household systems,
or water purification systems that attach to a tap or are based in a pitcher. The reason for
the popularity of the three-stage filter is its simplicity, affordability, as well as its

Sediment Filters

The first stage of three-stage filtration begins with a sediment filter, which removes
the majority of the larger particulate matter from the water. These filters are usually
made of pleated cellulose, pleated polyester or spun polypropylene. Out of the three
types, the pleated cellulose is most effective, though also the slowest. Pleated
polyester has a limited reuse capacity, but is also resistant to bacteria and chemicals.

Kinetic Degradation Fluxion Filters

Chlorine is an essential part of the detoxification process in public water sources.

However, many people find the taste and smell offensive and want to remove it.
Other people feel the chemical nature of chlorine is harmful. The kinetic
degradation fluxion (KDF) part of a three-step water purification system takes the
chlorine out of the water by converting it to chloride. Made from copper and zinc,
the filters are highly reusable and recyclable.

Activated Carbon Filters

The last step in the three-step filtration process is activated carbon. Either solid and
porous or granular, the negatively charged activated carbon attracts positively
charged contaminants, which stick to it. Over time, the charge on the carbon is
reduced as it gets dirtier, meaning the filter has to be changed on a regular basis.

Which Water Purification System is the Right One?

The different needs of every family need to be taken into consideration before putting in
a water purification system. Larger systems usually need to be installed professionally,
whereas smaller systems can be hooked up without help. Water quality should be taken
into account, so a water test may need to be done depending on the geographic area and
the amount of suspected contamination. After the test results are received, the correct
purification system can be chosen.

Pitcher Purification Systems

The pitcher system, made famous by Brita, is a very popular choice across the country
and now comes in a variety of different sizes. Since the systems are relatively inexpensive
and the filters last a long time, putting a pitcher in one's fridge can make a real difference
to the taste of one's tap water. Brands like PUR have elaborated on the pitcher system,
creating handy in-fridge dispensers.
Filters for pitcher systems tend to successfully filter between 40 and 100 gallons before
they need to be changed. For the average family, that means a lifespan of between one
and four months.
Tap Water Purification Systems

If the water source supplying a house is clean enough for laundry, bathing and other
common uses but does not deliver desirable drinking water, a tap purification system can
be enough to remedy the situation. These little devices can be mounted onto the taps in
the kitchen and other parts of the house, and provide clean, safe, pleasant-tasting water at
the flick of a switch. Some devices, like the PUR water filter, are simply turned to engage
the filter.
Most tap filtration systems are made as a three-level system composed of a sediment
filter, a KDF filter and an activated carbon filter. For most households, a tap filter will be
more than sufficient to meet drinking and cooking needs.

Whole-House Water Purification Systems

If the water supply to a house is particularly dirty, a whole-house water purification

system may be in order. Though these are more expensive, they do outperform tap water
filters in several ways. A whole-house filter can be set up to remove microbial organisms,
which is something that a regular tap or pitcher purification system cannot do. Also, the
whole-house system will filter all of the water and remove heavy metals like iron, which
stain clothing in the washer and the inside of household appliances as well as toilets, baths
and showers.
Household systems are typically installed at the point the mains water supply connects to
the house and are often filled by pipes approximately one inch across. Good quality
household filter cartridges will purify about 100,000 to 150,00 gallons of water before
having to be replaced. Depending on the home's needs, a typical filter may vary in size
and flow rate.

How to Buy Water Purification Systems on eBay

To make the buying process easier, eBay have set up a simple way to find almost anything
on the site. To find a selection of whole-house water filters, a buyer needs to go to the
Home and Garden section and choose "Major Appliances," and then select "Other." After
that, they simply search for water filters in the search bar at the top of the page' and the
results will be displayed on the right-hand side of the page.
To find pitcher and tap-based water purification systems, a buyer simply goes to the Home
and Garden page, followed by the Kitchen, Dining & Bar, followed by the Small Kitchen
Appliances category. From there, they can narrow their search by choosing " Water
Filters" from the menu on the left of the page. Brands can also be chosen on the left,
revealing a wide selection of filters and refills.
The feedback system on eBay is a very useful way to see what the seller's reputation is
like. In the unlikely event of problems with the shipment of the water filter, eBay Buyer
Protection will refund the original price of the item plus the shipping cost. Buyers should
take the time to read about this program before they go ahead with a purchase.
If a customer cannot find an item immediately, they can save a search, look in eBay Stores
or place an ad in the Want it Now section of the site.
In this guide, reasons to choose a water purification system were discussed, and the
various types of water purification systems were examined. Sediment filters, KDF filters,
activated carbon filters and their roles in a multi-step system were all explored, along with
the importance of each in the production of clean, safe and pleasant-tasting water.
Distilled water is completely pure and is often remineralized before being used as
drinking water. Reverse osmosis is a method which can be used to remove even
radioactive particles from water sources, whereas catalytic conversion water filtering
converts harmful contaminants into benign compounds without filtration.
For families with a water supply clean enough to bathe and wash clothes in, a pitcher or
tap purification system can be enough to fulfill drinking water needs. These systems are
inexpensive and the filters tend to purify between 400 and 100 gallons before having to
be replaced.